Day 1 of the 2021 G7 summit

By Ivana Kottasová, Aditi Sangal, Nick Thompson, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 11:35 a.m. ET, June 13, 2021
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11:21 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

G7 leaders pose for "family photo" ahead of first day of summit

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England

Host TV 2
Host TV 2

The G7 leaders posed for the landmark "family photo" in Carbis Bay, England ahead of the first plenary session of the three-day summit.

It's a major moment for President Biden, who has been near the center of the American foreign policy establishment for decades but never as a member of the world leaders’ club.

On Friday, he took his place alongside the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and the European Union to pose for a photo marking the start of the G7 summit. Biden posed to the right of Johnson during the photo.

Biden was seen in friendly conversation with President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada as he walked to the platform. As the leaders were returning inside after the photo was taken, Biden walked arm-in-arm with Macron, whom he had not yet met as president.

More on today's agenda: The leaders of the world's advanced economies are gathering today on the Cornish coast for the first time since the global coronavirus pandemic began, welcoming Biden as a new member who arrived here intent on restoring traditional American alliances.

The global economy is up first in the summit, with the global tax rate and aid for countries in need on the docket. These efforts, the White House said, will "forge a more fair and inclusive global economy" as the world leaders gather in Cornwall.

Biden and the G7 leaders, the White House said, will "discuss ways to forge a more fair, sustainable, and inclusive global economy that meets the unique challenges of our time. President Biden and G7 partners are committed to a global recovery that benefits the middle class and working families at home and around the world."

The group is expected to announce an endorsement for the global minimum tax of at least 15%, a Biden-led overhaul of the global tax system, after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her finance minister counterparts announced an agreement on the matter earlier this month in London.

Read more about today's meetings here.

Watch the historic moment here:

10:08 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Biden arrives for first G7 summit as President

From CNN's Kevin Liptak in Falmouth, England

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden were greeted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson for the start of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England.

The group shared an elbow bump upon greeting. The G7 leaders are expected to take the landmark "family photo" soon.

Biden was the second-to-last leader to greet host Johnson. The two men and their wives posed for a photo with Carbis Bay as the backdrop before the Bidens kept walking into the venue.

Earlier today, the US first lady met Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, touring a school in Cornwall, England, near the G7 summit.

Biden and the Duchess focused their meeting on children and education during their first-ever meeting, which took place at Conor Downs Academy, inside a classroom of 4- and 5-year-old students. 

CNN's Kate Bennett contributed reporting to this post. 

9:19 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Biden and Putin not expected to hold joint presser after high-stakes meeting next week

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak

President Biden and Russian President Putin are not currently expected to hold a joint news conference following their high-stakes summit in Geneva next week, two US officials familiar with the matter say.

The final plans are still being formulated, and could change. But officials putting together the day’s events said that as of Friday, no joint press conference was expected.

This is a change from three years ago, when then-President Trump met privately for two hours with Putin in Helsinki. Both leaders spoke to reporters after, which is when Trump sided with the Kremlin over US intelligence agencies. 

US officials said they expect to be negotiating details of the summit’s structure and format with their Russian counterparts until the hours before it begins.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this week that details like a joint press conference were still being sorted.

“All of that is still being worked out,” he said. “So when I've got more to report on the modalities, both in terms of how the meeting will be structured and the press elements, we’ll come back to you.”

Sullivan said as Biden was flying to England to begin his foreign trip that the President himself did plan to speak afterward.

“He does want to have an opportunity after that meeting to read it out and speak about his impressions and what he sees as the way forward,” he said.

In the weeks following Biden’s invitation to Putin for a summit meeting in Europe, officials from the two sides have negotiated details of the encounter, including its agenda and location.

Some more background: Putin has a history of joint news conferences with his American counterparts, including a much-maligned appearance alongside then-President Donald Trump in Helsinki. Trump drew criticism for appearing to side with Putin instead of American intelligence agencies after a question on election meddling.

Officials who have been involved in arranging past US meetings with Putin say the Russian side often pushes for a joint press conference, hoping to elevate Putin’s stature by having him appear alongside the American leader.

It’s one of several fraught decisions that go into planning meetings with Putin.

9:19 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

Duchess of Cambridge and Jill Biden express hope UK-US can work together to better early education

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

During a visit to a local elementary school in Cornwall on the first day of the G7 Summit, the Duchess of Cambridge and First lady Jill Biden, expressed their hopes for the United Kingdom and the United States to work together to support the improvement of early childhood education.  

“Ultimately, my hope is that we change the way we think about early childhood, ready for generations to come,” Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, said Friday during a roundtable discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes.

"I am committed to this for the long term. I hope our two countries can keep sharing data, knowledge and best practice for many years to come,” she added. 

Speaking alongside the Duchess of Cambridge, the US first lady said she is “sure” the two countries will continue to work together, expressing how important she feels early childhood education is for all. 

“Early childhood education is so important to lay the foundation for all of our students, so thank you for having me and for inviting me here,” Biden said. 

While touring a classroom and meeting with pupils at the Connor Downs Academy, Biden also expressed how “impressed” she was by the “inspiring” pupils she met and the work of the school to support early years education. 

Asked by reporters how important she feels early childhood education will be for children during and after the global coronavirus pandemic, the first lady touched on her own experience as an educator, describing early years education as “the foundation of everything.” 

“I can tell you that as a teacher at the upper levels, if they don’t have a good foundation, they fall so far behind, so this is amazing to see what these children are doing, and how far advanced they are at four and five years old,” Biden said. 

Read more about their meeting today here.

8:38 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

The first day of the G7 summit kicks off today. Here's what you should know about the meeting.

From CNN's Paul LeBlanc

Police officers stand near a sign outside the media center on the first day of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England, on Friday, June 11.
Police officers stand near a sign outside the media center on the first day of the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, England, on Friday, June 11. Hollie Adams/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Biden's first international trip since taking office includes a G7 summit, where he will look to reestablish US leadership on key global topics. The first day of the three-day summit is today in Carbis Bay, England.

Here's what you need to know about the summit:

What is the G7?

The G7 is shorthand for Group of Seven, an organization of leaders from some of the world's largest economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Russia was indefinitely suspended from the group — which was at the time known as the G8 — in 2014 after the majority of member countries allied against its annexation of Crimea.

What does the G7 do?

Members of the G7 meet each year for a summit to discuss global issues, such as international security and the world economy, and coordinate policy. This year, recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to be a big topic.

In a statement ahead of the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would urge his fellow G7 leaders to make concrete commitments to vaccinate the world, as well as give support to the "Global Pandemic Radar" — a new global surveillance system intended to protect immunization programs.

What power does the G7 have?

The group has often produced decisions with global consequences.

Ahead of this year's summit, for instance, G7 finance ministers agreed to back a global minimum tax of at least 15% on multinational companies. The G7 group also agreed that the biggest companies should pay tax where they generate sales, and not just where they have a physical presence.

Read more about the G7 here.

10:10 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

First lady Jill Biden and the Duchess of Cambridge visit classroom in Cornwall 

From CNN's Aditi Sangal


First Lady Jill Biden and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, met for the first time at the Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, Cornwall.

The classroom was full of children around the ages of four and five.

“It’s the quietest class I’ve ever been into,” the Duchess said.

The teacher shared that the children are learning about how to make the world greener and a better place, "which is what we know the G7 is all about," he said.

Biden said early childhood education during a pandemic is "very important."

"It is the foundation of everything. I can tell you that as a teacher in the upper levels, if they don't have a good foundation, they fall so far behind. So this is amazing to see what these children are doing, and how far advanced they are at 4 and 5 years old," she said.

The children also shared their reading skills with Biden and the duchess.

The two women later sat at a table where the children were drawing their own renditions of famous landmarks, including the White House. Biden pointed to parts of it to the children, like where her bedroom was.

Watch Jill Biden and the Duchess interact with the children:

CNN's Arlette Saenz contributed reporting to this post.

7:29 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

German chancellor Angela Merkel will visit White House in July

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pictured during a press conference on June 10, in Berlin, Germany.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pictured during a press conference on June 10, in Berlin, Germany. Pool/Getty Images

US President Joe Biden will welcome German chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House next month, the White House said on Friday.

Biden has not met formally with Merkel, but has spoken to her by phone. He will see her in person at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

The White House said Merkel will visit on July 15. It will be her first visit to Washington during Biden's presidency, and likely her final US visit in a long era as chancellor.

Merkel is not seeking a fifth term and will depart office. Elections to replace her are in September.

"Chancellor Merkel’s visit will affirm the deep bilateral ties between the United States and Germany," the White House said.

"The leaders will discuss their commitment to close cooperation on a range of common challenges, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the threat of climate change, and promoting economic prosperity and international security based on our shared democratic values." 

8:31 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

And here's what's for dinner tonight ...

No high-level political summit is ever complete without a swanky dinner featuring local delicacies.

Queen Elizabeth and other senior members of the royal family are set to meet G7 leaders and their partners at a reception in Cornwall, England on Friday. The 95-year-old Queen, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend the reception at the Eden Project, a famous visitor attraction located in a reclaimed china clay pit. 

The Eden Project is pictured in June 2020 in St Austel, England.
The Eden Project is pictured in June 2020 in St Austel, England. Hugh Hastings/Getty Images

While the hosting country's national cuisine tends to dominate formal menus at events like this, there while be no fish and chips or beans on toast on the menu for Friday.

Instead, the meal that chef Emily Scott will serve to the G7 leaders will reflect the location of the G7 summit, Cornwall. Here is the menu, according to a statement from the Downing Street:

  • Spiced melon, gazpacho, coconut, high-note herbs
  • Turbot roasted on the bone, caught by Cornish fishermen off the coast at Newquay; Cornish new potatoes and wild garlic with greens from the local Padstow kitchen gardens
  • Cornish cheese — Gouda, Yarg, Helford Blue
  • English Strawberry Pavlova 
  • Petits Fours: Clotted cream fudge, Mini-clotted cream ice-cream cone with chocolate Earl Grey truffles

CNN's Luke McGee and Lindsay Isaac contributed reporting to this post. 

7:19 a.m. ET, June 11, 2021

First Lady Jill Biden is meeting with Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge today

From CNN's Kate Bennett

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, left, and First Lady Jill Biden.
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, left, and First Lady Jill Biden. AFP/WPA Pool/Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden will meet with Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge this week while she is in England, Kensington Palace told CNN on Thursday, as the first family makes their first international trip.

Biden and Kate will focus on children and education during their first-ever meeting on Friday, a White House official told CNN. The two women will participate in a roundtable about early childhood education and tour a school in Cornwall.

Another White House official said the event would include touring a classroom and a walk outside for a show and tell from the children of how they take care of rabbits. The two women will also hold a roundtable with early childhood experts from the US over Zoom.

Kate, with her husband the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, has taken a larger public-facing role in recent years in the United Kingdom, championing causes including mental health, the overall well-being of children, the importance of sports and visual arts, as well as the importance of getting the Covid-19 vaccine. She posted a photo of herself on her social media accounts receiving her first dose on May 29.

Biden has also taken several recent trips to various parts of the United States encouraging people to get vaccinated. The meeting in England between Biden and the Duchess has been in the works for the last couple of weeks, a White House official tells CNN.

The first lady is accompanying President Joe Biden for his first Group of 7 summit, which is being held in Cornwall, England, from Friday to Sunday. The Bidens arrived in England on Wednesday. On Thursday, the President and first lady met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson. Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson had a separate meeting over tea and a tour of St. Michael's Mount off the coast of Cornwall.

Some more background: The President and first lady will also meet with Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Sunday. It will be the Queen's first major meeting with a world leader since the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in April, and comes after a year in which most of her in-person engagements were postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jill Biden will return to the United States after meeting the Queen.

While Jill Biden has for several years been friends with Prince Harry, whom she met in 2012 while second lady, she has not met other senior members of the royal family.